This is a murder mystery in an extravagantly Wodehousian style.
Blotto, utterly dim second son of the Duke of Tawcester ("though Blotto had for some years been manfully working his way through The Hand of Fu Manchu, literature had never played a major part in his life") and his brainy sister Twinks investigate the theft of two of their family portraits. Forget the story. Enjoy the humour.
They talk in outrageous flapper slang. Exclamations include Toad-in-the-Hole, Broken biscuits and Larksissiums. If you are glum you are said to have lumps in your custard. And the thieves are four-faced filchers, or stenchers. Blotto persistently misunderstands everything. When told that some people have pictures on their walls that are reproductions he thinks these must be pictures of people reproducing. When a French painter exclaims "Salaud!" he assumes this is French for "Allo" so he replies "Hello" (this is a repeated gag). When Twinks is flattered that someone has written her a poem, she is his muse, Blotto thinks she is a stable block.
The names are delightful. The two French painters who compete to do works of triangulisme and how sick they are of consumption are called Blocque and Tacquel. The two American writers who compete in drinking are called Chuck Waggen and Scott Frea. Even the minor characters are brilliant. Every French waiter discusses philosophy. There is a silent film star of breath-taking stupidity who is surprised that her lips are red when they are always black in the movies and reasons that is because you always see movies in darkened rooms. (She is also in France to find her ancestors even though her French name is only a stage name and she is actually the daughter of American hog farmers.) English writer Westomoreland Hubely attempts a gay seduction of Blotto but Blotto has no idea what he is talking about.
Brilliantly funny. Who cares about the plot.
By the prolific author of the Fethering mysteries including The Corpse on the Court and Blood at the Bookies and Bones under the Beach Hut and the Charles Paris theatrical whodunnits such as A Decent Interval.
January 2015; 200 pages
- Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57